Sea Blue Lens


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Thawing Out

Thanksgiving Blooms

Despite our continuing unseasonably warm weather, I have been rather frozen in place, wondering how to carry on here. I started this blog as a photo journal for an online photography class I was taking. I finished the last lesson a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m wondering, “What’s next?” What shall I do here now that I no longer have twice-weekly assignments to photograph and write about?

Our final bonus lesson for our Journey of Inspiration was the same as after the Journey of Recognition: to look over our Inspiration File (a collection of our own best/favorite photographs), reread our photo journal entries, and assess what we have gained from the class.

I loved these classes. They have brought me back to photography in a whole new way and have rekindled a new interest in my old love. In the pursuit of that interest, I’ve bought a new “serious” camera for the first time in years — my first dSLR. I’ve updated my Photoshop Elements software and dipped my toe ever so gently into the world of post-processing. And I recently found a good enough deal on Lightroom that I added that to my photographic arsenal as well.

Now, what am I going to do with all of this? First of all, try not to become overwhelmed by having so many new things to learn at once! Spend a little time each day on one thing at a time, taking it step by step. Remind myself that it takes practice to master anything new.

One of the most surprising things I discovered from my Find Your Eye classes is how much I enjoyed writing this blog. Thinking about my photos, about the process of taking them, about art and creativity; combining my words with my pictures here on this virtual page; and then clicking “Publish” so other people could read them … all that has been more rewarding and more fun than I ever imagined.

It’s not easy for an extremely introverted person to put herself “out there” for the world to see. I’ve been warmed by the positive responses not only of my classmates but total strangers who have somehow found their way here. When I despair over all the terrible things the news media stream at us daily, I can visit the blogs of new friends from the next town or across the globe and see the world through their eyes. The desire to seek and create beauty and meaning with our cameras links us into a community that transcends politics, geography, race, religion, education, occupation, or whatever else so often divides people. Despite our differences, we have a connection. This gives me hope and brings me joy.

I don’t know where this blog is going. Perhaps a direction will show itself in the future, but for now, it will simply continue to be my photo journal. I have a lot of ideas for my own self-assignments, and there were a number of class assignments that I’d like to do again, or take further. I also have a lot of things on my mind as I contemplate life changes in the not too distant future.

I hope we can stay in touch, my new friends!

Kat Sloma will be offering her Find Your Eye classes again beginning in January. She calls them “photo classes with heart and soul,” and they truly are that! I highly recommend them, as well as her lovely blog, The Kat Eye View of the World, where she shares inspiring thoughts and helpful tutorials … not to mention her own beautiful images.

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Duet

Last Saturday morning I had the privilege of getting together with a fellow blogger and student of Kat Sloma’s wonderful Find Your Eye photography e-courses. With participants in the class from across the United States and across the world, I got so lucky as to find one practically across the street. Well, OK, not quite that close. But only a few minutes away.

So before the crack of dawn last Saturday, and before the sky clouded up to deliver the infamous October snow, I drove to a spot by the ocean to meet up with Susan of Happy No Ears fame. Turns out she is just as fun and funny as you would guess from reading her blog. She’s also very persuasive, because leaving the house when it’s still dark on a Saturday morning is not a normal part of my weekend routine. Now I can see I may have to change that.

The morning was chilly but beautiful and I found myself wide awake and excited as we headed for the beach, cameras in hand. We photographed the sunrise over the ocean, and as the sun rose higher, went into the village center to see what else we could find bathed in that lovely morning light.

Sunrise Silhouette

Morning Twilight

Leaves

Sun Gilt

Bluegreengold

Quiet Morning

Stone Fence

Two by Two

Porch Light

Who, Me?

A couple of hours flew by — at least I think it was a couple of hours; I lost track of time. Tired and hungry, we adjourned to a local cafe that, as it turned out, is a favorite breakfast spot of both of ours. There we discussed such deep subjects as cameras, photography, the meaning of life . . . well, maybe not that last one so much, though actually we might have touched on it.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Like so many of us, I normally pursue my photography alone, and it was a rare treat to be able to share it with a kindred spirit. Thanks, Susan! I’m looking forward to next time.

For anyone who’s interested, I’ve uploaded these images and others from this photo shoot to Flickr.

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Being My Own Inspiration

Taking flight

Lesson two in our Find Your Eye class was to start an “inspiration file.” This is meant to consist of 15 to 20 of my own favorite photographs, the ones that speak to me and that I love to look at. Well, that shouldn’t be so hard.

Well, except that sometimes I make things harder on myself. Before I can pick my favorite/best photos, I must compulsively organize ALL of my photos. I know, I know. But actually, it helped with the exercise, because I scanned through hundreds thousands of pictures very quickly, not letting myself obsess (too much) over any particular one.

It was the 15-to-20 photos part that turned out to be the hardest. I ended up with a few over 50, and had to leave out a lot of others that I really love to get it reduced that far.

Bluebird of Happiness Times Four

What I ended up with is a folder of photographs that surprised me. It makes me happy when I look at each one, and even happier when I see them all grouped together. You see, I’ve never been very impressed with my own abilities as a photographer. But seeing all of my favorites at one glance, I realize I really do like them. A lot.

They are not all brilliant, or technically perfect, but each one has something about it that I love. Some are out of focus, or a bit crooked, but I left them in because they give me ideas. I want to remember to try that shot again, and get it better next time.

Fuzzy duck…but oh, look at that green!

These, my own pictures…they do inspire me, and I think that was the point of the lesson. I’m grateful to have learned it.